Dogwood Resident Mildred Butts Turns 100
Dogwood Village resident and WWII veteran Mildred Hayes Butts achieved the age milestone of 100 on January 31, 2022. Mildred was born to Winder Shields Hayes and Mattie Jane Sorrells in 1922 in Rockbridge County, Va. With five sisters and four brothers, Mildred was the 4th of 10 children.
Life in the Hayes family’s 145-acre farm in Rockbridge County was a far cry from the modern conveniences most of us take for granted today. With no electricity or indoor plumbing, water came from a cistern and food and milk were cooled by a creek house stream. About 8 acres of their farm consisted of woodland, so the family had access to firewood, which was used for heating their home and for cooking. From dawn to dusk, Hayes family members all pitched in to keep the farm running with such chores as cooking, hand washing clothes, milking cows, plowing crops behind work horses and caring for their chickens and hogs. They were a poor family with few material possessions, but with crops and livestock, they never suffered from a lack of food. Transportation was by horseback.
There was little time for fun or recreation or even education as most family members did not get past an 8th grade education. At age 19 Mildred left home. She joined the U.S. Army in 1943, where she served stateside in the Women’s Army Corp, performing such duties as a Medical Technician and as a Parachute Rigger and Repairman. She achieved the rank of corporal and was the recipient of several service medals: The WAC Service Medal, The American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. Upon being honorably discharged in 1945, she used her GI Bill benefits to attend beauty school.
She married Calvin Butts, an aircraft mechanic, in 1951. Mildred worked in a salon in Alexandria, Va., until the birth of her first son Lew in 1955. The Butts family moved from Alexandria to Gordonsville in 1964, where they cared for elderly relatives and worked their 13-acre farm. Calvin died in 2010 from leukemia. Mildred and Calvin had two sons, Lew (a retired U.S. Army master sergeant who lives in Gordonsville) and Cal (a retired Air Force Lt. Col., who works at Warner Robbins Air Force Base, Ga.)
Mildred also has four grandchildren and one great grandchild. Since 2016 Mildred has been residing in Dogwood Village Nursing Home. Mildred is the next to last surviving sibling from the Hayes household. Her sister Anna Belle (AKA Tubby) is 90-years-old and lives in Raphine, Va.